The Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund: Bipolar Genes Project & Genetics Repository
Tragedy struck the family of Heinz C. Prechter on July 6, 2001. The legendary business leader fell victim to suicide after battling intermittent bouts of bipolar disorder for most of his adult life. He was only 59 years old.
Two children lost their caring father. A wife lost her loving husband. But we all lost a great friend and limitless opportunities never to be realized.
In order to prevent others from going through what the Prechter family has endured, Waltraud "Wally" Prechter established a foundation in her husband's memory in October 2001. The Fund, now known as the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund at The University of Michigan Depression Center, is advancing breakthrough medical research in the fields of psychiatric genetics, neuroimaging and neurosciences to help find cures for bipolar disorder.
Heinz's passing was one of countless tragedies brought on by the insidious hereditary disease of bipolar disorder. According to the American Association of Suicidology, over 30,000 Americans take their own lives every year, that is, one suicide every 17 minutes. In addition, more than 730,000 Americans attempt suicide every year. Nearly 70 percent of suicides are depression related.
More than 20 million people suffer from mood disorders including bipolar in the United States. Such afflictions affect one out of every five Americans over the course of a lifetime. However, the stigma of mental illness prevents millions from seeking proper medical care. Currently, less than 10 percent of those suffering from depressive disorders receive adequate treatment.
As debilitating as blindness or paraplegia, bipolar disorder poses a global tragedy in human suffering and a burden of gigantic proportions to our knowledge-based information economy. Currently, depressive illnesses are the number one cause of disability, leading to over 200 million workdays lost each year. The new economy needs all its participants to think, share ideas, be creative, communicate and foster productive relationships at work. Bipolar disorder diminishes all these abilities.
Wally Prechter and the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund at The University of Michigan Depression Center are determined to make a difference in the fight against bipolar disorder. The Fund encourages the public and private sectors to join in providing support for needed medical research to better understand the causes and find cures for bipolar illnesses.
Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund
U-M Depression Center
Rachel Upjohn Building
4250 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700
To learn more about the specific research projects, contact a Prechter Research Associate at:
1-877-UM GENES (1-877-864-3637)